146. Statement by the Representative at the United Nations (Lodge)1

Press Release No. 2401

The seeds of international communism fall on fertile ground when impoverished peoples see no hope. A hungry man, therefore, is more interested in four sandwiches than he is in four freedoms. But people who are healthy and have enough to eat will be strong enough to fight for themselves against aggression from without or within. This is one important reason why the United States supports programs for economic aid abroad.

A program to which many nations contribute under the auspices of the United Nations has some real advantages over a program sponsored by the United States alone. That is the difference between so-called “multilateral” aid and “bilateral” aid.

Multilateral aid offers a way to prevent the so-called “auction” which some are trying to promote between the United States and the USSR as to which will spend the most in an underdeveloped country.

A multilateral program supplies no cover for engaging in political penetration, which is what the communists do and which we are unjustly suspected of wanting to do. We thus get credit for unselfish motives in contributing to such a fund; yet we can influence it constructively.

The percentage which a country like ours contributes to a multilateral program is less than it would be under a bilateral program because more countries are sharing the expenses.

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A multilateral program conducted in full public view by representatives of the United Nations will not be misunderstood by those who benefit from it. United Nations technicians in special uniforms, for example, would find it difficult to engage in surreptitious political activity.

We need both bilateral and multilateral programs. But the present world situation is one which requires our giving new emphasis to multilateral programs. We can do this without any additional expense by diverting a percentage of our foreign aid funds to multilateral channels.

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, CFEP Chairman Records. This statement was made in response to a correspondent’s request for Lodge’s views on the relative merits of multilateral vs. bilateral assistance.